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Dimmu Borgir: Stormblast (re-recording)

Dimmu Borgir have done what many die-hard fans have called an unspeakable act, that is to re-record one of their earlier classic albums, the now legandary Stormblast. Well, maybe I should use the term "reimagine" instead, as Shagrath and Silenoz have decided not to bring back the original band that recorded that particular album, nor use the band that recorded the most recent Death Cult Armageddon release. Instead, the two went into the studio and did all the guitar work, bass, and vocals themselves, with the addition of some keyboard help from Mustis and drums by Hallhammer, and we now have a new Stormblast, with obviously updated production techniques (the original album suffered greatly in that department) and more capable musical skills. So, how does it stack up?

Well, for one, this new version sounds crisp, vibrant, and heavy. The guitar work is more in your face, more brutal, but this new characteristic means that the keyboard, while still prevalent and even more modern sounding, takes a much more reserved role. Fans who are used to the heavy use of keys on many of the Dimmu Borgir albums will notice this glaring difference immediately. They are still here, but this is more of a guitar dominated album by far. If you have never heard the original album, then the production here by Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren will hit you like a blast of molten magma-it's that forceful, especially the output of the guitars and the drums. Shagrath's vocals are as venemous as ever, but it seems like he is trying a little too hard to reinvent the rawness of his vocals on the original albums and update the style, which gives the results here a somewhat campy feeling. Overall I don't think that this is a bad thing though, as black metal in general has a certain amount of campiness about it, and these songs especially since they were written and sung in Norweigen.

I think all Dimmu Borgir fans need to hear this and form their own opinions on it. The original album perhaps has a bit more charm to it, and is certainly more raw and dark, but this new version is heavy as hell, bristling with modern production techniques and just beckoning to be heard by metal fans of all types. Overall it's not quite as symphonic, and I question their decision to not bring back the original or current band to complete it, but considering the official release includes a bonus DVD of a full Ozzfest 2004 performance by the band, makes this a worthwhile purchase, even if just for curiosity sake, while we wait for the next studio album, supposedly due in late 2006.

Track Listing
01. Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen
02. Broderskapets Ring
03. Nar Sjelen Hentes Til Helvete
04. Sorgens Kammer Del II
05. Da Den Kristne Satte Livet Til
06. Stormblast
07. Dodsferd
08. Antikrist
09. Vinder Frau En EnsonGrav
10. Guds Fortapelse
11. Avmaktslave
Bonus DVD-Full Ozzfest 2004 performance (30 minutes)

Added: February 17th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Dimmu Borgir Website
Hits: 5282
Language: english

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Dimmu Borgir: Stormblast (re-recording)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-02-17 06:08:44
My Score:

Across their catalog of recorded music, one album that has always received acclaim is Stormblast. It is considered to be one of the best Dimmu Borgir albums released and the album that began the journey into Symphonic Black Metal. The release originally came out in 1996 but suffered a limited production value which, as a listener, takes too much away from what is happening. As a result of this, lead singer Shagrath, along with guitarist Silenoz sat down and decided to recreate the entire album and not simply remaster it to get a better sounding original piece. Instead, the whole album was modified a little to make it closer to where the band was now and re-recorded. Such actions always come with two opinions, for one side will say "how dare they do this to such a masterpiece?" and there are others who might be more accepting and take this as a new piece of music. Twisted Sister tried this with Still Hungry, a re-do of the classic Stay Hungry, and this was not well-received by most. Looking at the larger whole, this is a brilliant production. By the addition of talent from current member Mustis (keyboards) and drumming by Hellhammer, the music of Stormblast now sits better along with Death Cult Armageddon. The album is still sung in Norwegian, but even I found myself able to keep up with the pace of the record. It's cleaner, more interesting, and definitely a tad more technical than its predecessor. As a band, Dimmu Borgir has shown the levels that Black Metal can be taken to by adding the Symphonic element to the style. As a fan who did not have the original CD, I was interested in this release, especially when it was announced that Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren would be handling a lot of the production work. Tagtgren has proven his skill level with Dimmu before and surely knows how to deliver in the studio in this capacity. While many traditionalists might feel this takes away from the purity of Black Metal's appeal for them, I feel that it instead guarantees their existence and dominance in the genre for many years to come. Bands like Opeth and Hypocrisy, while labeled Death Metal, at one point have progressed in such a manner that people who never took this music seriously are now enjoying it and buying records. In the end, that is what this is all about. Fans might have preferred a new studio album with new songs but that is still being worked on. The project that Shagrath and Silenoz took on allowed fellow member Galder to release his latest effort with Old Man's Child (Vermin released on Century Media Records).

The CD includes two bonus unreleased tracks; and to further expand on the original, they have included a bonus DVD for you to enjoy. The DVD captures the entire set performed by the group when they appeared on the 2004 Ozzfest. Songs on the DVD include "Progenies of the Grand Apocalypse", "King's Of the Carnival Creation", "Vreksbyrd" and "Mourning Palace". I felt this was a great thing to include for it not only helps to avoid piracy based on the extras but also brings a larger potential audience to the fold. Dimmu Borgir is one imposing band musically and in image. They are not to be taken lightly, and their re-do of Stormblast will remind you of this with every track.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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